- Gout is a painful inflammatory arthritis condition caused by deposits of uric acid crystals in the joints and soft tissues. The painful attacks often begin at night and may last for a week.
- If gout is diagnosed properly, it is relatively easy for doctors and patients to treat the condition. Adherence to medication and lifestyle recommendations is key to managing chronic gout. However, patient compliance can pose a challenge since the condition is asymptomatic between attacks.
- The American College of Rheumatology issues criteria for the diagnosis of gout.
- The incidence and prevalence of gout is growing in the US. This is most likely due to obesity and the use of diuretics.
- In September 2010, the FDA approved Krystexxa (pegloticase) IV injections for the treatment of gout. The injection is given every two weeks and reserved for patients with severe chronic gout who have not been helped by first line treatments. Krystexxa is an enzyme, or biologic, that targets uric acid directly by transforming it into a different molecule.
- The FDA only recently approved colchicines (Colcyrs) for the treatment of acute gout, but doctors have been prescribing this medication (as well as NSAIDs) for decades.
- Studies have shown that family physicians are able to diagnose gout reasonably well using a simple diagnostic algorithm including specific symptoms, history and lifestyle factors. However, aspiration of fluid from the inflamed join is the most definitive diagnostic test.
- People with gout are at an increased risk of having metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of problems, such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and low "good" cholesterol. This syndrome increases a person's risk of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, lifestyle changes are an important aspect of the prevention of gout and overall health.
Review Date: 01/04/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.